Liberal Democratic Party Lower House member Taro Kimura, formerly a special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, died of pancreatic cancer in Tokyo early Tuesday morning, according to his staff. He was 52.
As a result of Kimura’s death, a by-election will be held in October in his constituency in Aomori Prefecture.
A native of Aomori, Kimura was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 with the now-defunct New Frontier Party, having previously been a prefectural assembly member.
He was a member of a blue-blooded political family, with his father serving as Aomori governor and grandfather as a Lower House member.
After moving to the LDP, he was appointed to sub-ministerial roles in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
When the LDP returned to power in December 2012, Abe made Kimura a special adviser to boost regional economies, a post he held for nearly three years.
In line with electoral rules, the by-election to replace him will take place on Oct. 22, the same day as a by-election in a Lower House constituency in Ehime Prefecture.